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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Undercharging a crime...

I've been focused when it comes to police violence in such places as South Carolina more recently and of course New York and Missouri. Then this case out of Chicago where a police officer somehow shoots dead a young black woman in 2012. Charges against this officer had recently been dismissed in a Cook County Court, however, it was made easier by the prosecution.

This is why I'm finally being tuned into this case as a local lawyer named Sam Adam - he defended some high profile people including one Rod Blagojevich & R. Kelly - is making some noise about this case. Of course as noted in this article he may consider running against the current state's attorney in Anita Alvarez:
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez was accused Wednesday of deliberately charging a now-acquitted Chicago Police detective with involuntary manslaughter instead of first-degree murder to “curry favor with” the Fraternal Order of Police.

Flamboyant criminal defense attorney Sam Adam Jr. said the rare directed verdict of acquittal that abruptly ended the trial of Dante Servin makes Adam more likely than ever to challenge Alvarez in the 2016 Democratic primary.

In issuing the stunning ruling, Circuit Judge Dennis Porter said pointing a gun at an intended victim and pulling the trigger is an international act — not a reckless one. He essentially said Servin should have been charged with murder — not involuntary manslaughter — for firing into a crowd and killing 22 year-old Rekia Boyd in March 2012.

Adam couldn’t agree more. But he argued that Alvarez’s “mistake” was intentional.

“When a man comes out, argues with an individual, then shoots an unregistered handgun over his shoulder into a crowd and rips the life out of a young vibrant African-American woman with no good cause and that individual is treated completely differently because he’s an off-duty police officer, that shows the problem we have in this county,” Adam said.

“To charge that as reckless conduct and not first-degree murder — either you’re doing it because you want to curry favor with the police department or you’re completely inept,” Adam said. “I think there’s no question it was deliberate. She wants to curry favor with the FOP. It took a $4.5 million settlement to get charges in this case. She was stuck in a hard place. If you charge first-degree murder, the FOP is mad at her. If you don’t charge anything, the community is upset. So you play the odds. That says you’re thinking about your job, not about what’s right.”
When I saw this I thought about this jewel from 2008. Alvarez has been Cook County State's Attorney since 2008 but before her election she made an appearance on a local political TV show and made her statement in favor of gun control. Something that shouldn't be too unfamiliar with those who have followed this blog over the years.

Soooo I know this seems like it was ages ago, but it came to mind because I just finally learned more about this case. As far as I know Ms. Alvarez hasn't done too much as far as guns in Cook County. I wish there was a way to look up how many cases involving guns go through the Cook County courts. 

Either way, it's disturbing if a police officer got away with shooting an unarmed person. Especially if he did engage in an intentional act of shooting his gun when he's trained to do otherwise. Although I can believe he shot believing that a suspect was holding a gun himself.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Man if only I had the gall to do something like this. Claim or colonize land that is for whatever reason unclaimed and create a state with its own culture and according to my philosophy. No need to impose it on an already established state.

Via Reason:
On April 13, 2015, 31-year-old Czech politician Vít Jedlička announced the founding of The Free Republic of Liberland, a sovereign state with no taxes, no standing army, and all civil services provided on a voluntarist basis. It has a website, a flag, 4.3 square miles of land, a president (Jedlička), seven citizens, and hundreds of people signing up for citizenship. You can apply to become a Liberlandian yourself here.

But Jedlička, a regional party leader with the Czech Free Citizens Party, is still living in the Czech Republic. No journalists have been permitted to enter Liberland, which is on land controlled by Croatia, (though Croatia doesn't claim the territory as part of the country); the Croatian border patrol has been turning all press away.

"Jedlička has a history of outspoken anti-EU activism, so a lot of Europeans have assumed this is an unusually committed stunt," writes Russell Brandom at The Verge. Thousands have applied online for citizenship, but "it's not clear what that actually means." And "since the country aims for minimal government, it's hard to tell if it's not doing anything because it's so libertarian or because it simply doesn't exist."
Imagine this a state founded by myself founded with my own philosophy involved. It could be a republic or a monarchy and perhaps a mixture of what we call conservatism or libertarianism. Perhaps marked by hypercapitalism with little to no regulation and with room to truly build. What a dream?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Chris Rock on baseball...

[VIDEO] Baseball season's crept on me this year and we see Chris Rock discuss (NSFW) why Blacks aren't really into baseball anymore. In fact, he notes how many teams in the playoffs last year have no Black players. He took a special dig at St. Louis thanks to the unrest on Ferguson, Missouri.

Personally I'm a baseball fan. Baseball is very easy to follow as other popular sports such as hockey, football and even basketball aren't so easy to follow. It took me years to pick up on some of the strategies on the baseball diamond.

Regardless the crowd of Black males that I know most enjoy talking about football and basketball. Baseball would be an afterthought. Still baseball isn't getting the attention it once did since many of these other American sports are coming to the forefront these days.

So why is baseball and afterthought for Blacks? Rock says it can't be the money if we'd be willing to stand in line for $300 Air Jordan sneakers. He says it's because the game is too old fashioned.

Although he even noted that at times baseball can be agressive especially if you look happy about scoring a home run. Hell I even thought about this fact during the course of the movie 42. The Dodgers stood up for Jackie Robinson after he got beaned by a pitcher - and certainly because he broke the color barrier of MLB.

BTW, he even made a political point Romney probably didn't win many Black votes in 2012 in his race against Obama. It probably didn't matter if we had a different Democrat in office in 2012 he still wouldn't have gotten Black votes. Especially young Black votes.

All the same, can baseball regain many Black fans? And what would have to change?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Gene Roddennberry's intro to "The Cage"

[VIDEO] Star Trek's 50th anniversary is coming up next year. So hard to believe it's that old as I remember the 30th anniversary - a program aired on TV in 1996 that had been recorded on VHS tape at home. Even better hopefully a new Trek film will be ready to go by next year.

In the above video Trek creator Gene Roddenberry gives us the rundown on the first pilot "The Cage". Little did I know that not only this pilot never aired on TV in the 1960s (it first aired in 1988 according to the Trek wiki) it had also been shown in black & white. Although when I've seen this episode it was always in color.

Most of what Roddenberry said isn't entirely unfamiliar to me. The idea of a TV pilot, his concept of the series, and perhaps the network's expection. That network being NBC who did air the series between 1966-1969. It's recognized that the series from this pilot to it's eventual cancellation was very different from not only other series from it time but also the sensibilities.

Of course there were other concerns such as advertisers. Tobacco companies advertised in those days. These days well we want to really discourage smoking and that means we won't see many smoking ads on TV now.

Judging by some of the effects and the sets Roddenberry was walking around this had to have been taped at least in the early 80s. According to the video description this came from a DVD featuring a color version of this pilot episode. And that seems to contradict Roddenberry who said there had been only black & white footage of this episode. Even though we see here both color and black & white footage.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Does class insulate Blacks from discrimination by police or the larger society?

[VIDEO] Recently there was a video I watched on FB from attorney and author Lawrence Otis Graham talking about his response to the tragedies involving young Black men such as Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown. Both were shot to death and purportedly fitting stereotypes of Black men. In the case of Brown he had been shot to death by police.

Basically he wanted to show that in order to keep his sons alive he wanted to insure that their wardrobe would keep them out of trouble. They don't wear t-shirts, there are no shirts with any lettering or they wear mostly wear khaki pants clothes that he hopes wouldn't make them look suspicious.

He made a splash late last year talking about how he hoped their "elite upbringing" would protect his children from discrimination. And here in lies the rub, some of the comments in that video suggested that they wore the same types of clothes and still got harassed by police. So it's possible the same thing could still happen to Mr. Graham's children.

He resides in New York so it's now like he lives in Harlem or whatever black areas exist in NYC. Perhaps his kids wouldn't be targets in whatever upscale area they reside. Of course in that column, he said that one of his sons had been called the n-word by some random strangers.

Unfortunately the human need to point out a minor difference such as skin color rears its ugly head. They had to call this kid out because he's not white and it didn't matter if he in fact didn't fit that stereotype. It was not about that kid, but about their need to just express some juvenile feelings they have towards a group of people. They didn't see a kid who came from money they saw a black kid and targeted him.

BTW, I wouldn't write this to criticize Mr. Graham. He's already getting attacked on social media probably for having some money and being Black. He doesn't have the wrong idea either probably his only deal is showing he has the same concerns as most other Black fathers.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

150 years ago...

Time mag ig
 On April 14, 1865 Abraham Lincoln - 16th President of the United States - had been assassinated by actor John Wilkes Booth. Not long before that General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union military leaders signaling the end of the American Civil War.

Rich Miller posted a link to an AP story regarding the assassination of President Lincoln. I can't believe they existed even that long.

And amazing just last year we acknowledged the start of the first World War and today we acknowledge the end of another way. So the world was at war at least 60 years after America fought a war against itself. A house divided...

Both wars involved long lasting changes. The world map changed after the first World War. As for the Civil War, the slaves were freed although it was over a century before the descendents of these slaves were truly seen as American citizens. Some might say we're still not treated as citizens.

BTW, it was interesting that Time magazine presented colorized photos from the Civil War era on their instagram feed recently. They were a cool look at a period of time I only thought of as presented in black & white. Alas I can't get to a link on Time's website so you have one example up top.

I also forgot to add that the Civil War ultimately resulted in the loss of more Americans than any other conflict fought by Americans in the history of the nation. Certainly it doesn't help that Americans for the most part had been fighting Americans. Again a house divided...

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

#WalterScott: Another unforunate incident involving police

Last year the news was dominated by what happened in Ferguson, Missouri and then moved onto New York and now we can add Charleston, South Carolina to the map. On Saturday an unarmed man Walter Scott had been shot to death by a Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager.

Last night on FOX News' Megan Kelly show I saw footage filmed by a citizen videographer for the first time. Then I thought, this is what really happens in a shooting, it's not all glitz and glamor and Hollywood. You hear gunshots, then see the man get hit and eventually fall to the ground.

I can already see this incident has racial overtones. The man was black the police officer was white as in the other scenarios. While I'm concerned passions will rise with this as it had at the end of last year I do hope the truth comes out.

All Mr. Scott did was run from Officer Slager and it appeared he had been unarmed. And if nothing justified the shooting of Mr. Scott why exactly did officer Slager shoot his pistol. Regardless Slager has been charged with murder - in addition to losing his job - and seemingly we have evidence that Slager may not have had probable cause.

BTW, for the record I will never show the video here however you can watch it at this link. The incident that happened in New York with a police officer choking a man to death, I avoided watching that video and all I know is that man couldn't breathe. In that case the officer had been cleared so this case is certainly much different.

As for the video I did see out of Charleston I chose not to change the channel and I saw what I saw. I feel desensitized, however, it's still hard to see footage of a person getting killed.

ALSO I read more into this case and his police department are distancing themselves from Slager and his attorney is no longer representing him. This isn't looking that good at all

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Story about Indiana pizzeria fabricated out of nothing

I'm still attempting to get this story from Indiana and figure out what it's all about. I understand what it's attempting to do and recognize that the state is taking a beating for the law they just passed.

Then I saw this story yesterday that I see at Instapundit. So a pizzeria - owned by a Christian couple - was said to have utilized their rights to not cater gay weddings. They've never been asked to anyway and they didn't make any publicity. It becomes a story and then it became they don't want to serve gays & lesbians.

What happens in our time of instant communication is that things get blown out of proportion. The couple are in the wrong business if they want to not serve a certain segment of the population which could be gay or black or Hispanic...etc. Unfortunately they said this in relation to this law out of Indiana.

Well wherever the truth lies in what the media from this news station in Indiana and the blow up on social media needless to say it had become a major fire. This pizzeria could suffer and some dumb things have been said. All I can say is let those people have their opinions and let's not allow our passions to get too high.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The "Macho Man"

[VIDEO] If you've followed this blog over the years I'm a huge wrestling fan. Unfortunately, I have never seen a PPV produced by any company including the recent Wrestlemania which I understand is one of the highest grossing of all time for the WWF - err sorry WWE.

Anyway during the course of Wrestlemania weekend, the Macho Man Randy Savage had been inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame. I'm glad he's getting the recognition he deserves in that business as he definitely left an impression not only within pro wresting, but also with the public. Most people know who he is and what his catchphrases are.

Regardless, thanks to his tragic death in 2011 many fans were denied the one thing he should have had. Savage just like Hulk Hogan or even Ultimate Warrior should have had run more run with WWF - err WWE. In the case of Warrior he made one more appearance on Monday Night Raw last year before his untimely demise not long after having one more moment with his fans.

Seriously though Hogan had one more run with his fans in the early 2000s and although it was clear that he didn't have the moves that he used to it was cool to see Hulkamania return to where it truly belonged. It truly belonged in the WWE Universe and the Macho Man belonged there as well. For whatever reason it didn't happen.

For a lot of past WWF - err WWE - superstars there were some issues that kept them from returning. Hogan had his issues with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and so did Warrior in addition to even Savage. These are issues that at some point had to be addressed and all parties can move forward because it's best for business. So for Hogan and Warrior those issues are address and who knows if they ever were for Savage before his death.

BTW, this article from the Tribune before Wrestlemania is about the local roots of Randy Savage who had been born Randy Poffo had grew up and went to school in the suburb of Downer's Grove. It's amazing how many classmates he knew and in some cases they had no idea he had become a huge WWE Superstar.

When I first got to see the Macho Man, Savage was the "Macho King" with the late Sensational Sherri as his manager. I remember the storyline where his former manager and ultimate love interest the late Miss Elizabeth had a courtship and were married. Apparently him and Elizabeth were a couple in real life although ultimately they divorced later. And while she followed him to WCW later, I wasn't sure what her purpose was in WCW as most of the time she didn't seem to affiliate with Savage.

Anyway I'm glad Savage is getting his recognition now, however, sad that he isn't with us to have one more memorable moment with his fans. I do hope you enjoy this video of Macho Man apparently in connection with a video game that was likely taped in 2010 or early 2011. He's aged, but he's still the Macho Man Randy Savage. That's why I got a kick out of it.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Morris Brown College emerges from bankruptcy

Morris Brown is one of the schools located in the cluster of institutions known as the Atlanta University Center. Sometime in the last decade that school's administration had engaged in some corrupt practices that resulted in losing their accreditation and began a long road back to viability. Thanks to an e-mail going around on social media - from 6th District African Methodist Episcopal Church with whom the school has been affiliated during the course of its history - Morris Brown College emerges from bankruptcy and hopefully regain it's accreditation.

This is certainly good news and hopefully we will see Morris Brown regain it's rightful place amongst the nation's historically Black institutions of higher learning.

BTW, I have followed some of the news regarding this school over the years and here's one of them. I was a fan of My Urban Report unfortunately posting has slowed down over the years, but the blogmaster there had shared a video he did in connection with Morris Brown. Primarily to help the school raise the necessary funds to get the school back on its feet.